Tennessee’s NCAA tournament road will begin at Thompson-Boling Arena next March. But the regional routes to the Women’s Final Four in Nashville will pass through the home courts of four other teams.
Notre Dame, Stanford, Louisville and Nebraska will host the regionals this season. The women’s basketball committee decided over the summer to allow schools to host the regionals for the first time in nearly a decade, with the thought it could increase attendance.
Like last season, Tennessee will be one of 16 sites hosting first- and second-round tournament games. UT is 52-0 at home in NCAA play.
Other campus sites that were chosen to host the first two rounds, which begin March 22, were UConn, Iowa State, LSU, North Carolina, Maryland, Texas A&M, Duke, Iowa, Kentucky, UCLA, Washington, Toledo, Penn State, Baylor and Purdue.
The Lady Vols have been outspoken in their desire to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2008 and compete for the program’s ninth national championship. They’re coined the phrase “Grind for 9.”
Tennessee has lost in the Elite Eight the past three seasons but all three games were played at neutral sites: Oklahoma City last season, Des Moines in 2012 and Dayton in 2011.
All four schools hosting regionals this season have had impressive success at home. Stanford boasts a 92-2 mark at Maples Pavilion since the start of the 2007-08 season. Notre Dame is 85-11 at home during that same span. Louisville and Nebraska each have won 81 percent of their home games over the past six years.